Friday, August 29, 2008

Holiday Spiced Ale 2

Spiced ales for the Holidays are simply the best. Made strong enough, they help ease the pain of frost bit hands in Chicago Winters. If the alcohol isn't warming enough, spices in these brews really pop out when served warm/hot. Three years ago, my brother and I brewed our Spiced Holiday Ale as a gift for our relatives. It had tons of ginger and lots of crushed spices (3 large tea infuser balls full of fresh Ginger Root, Cinnamon Sticks, Cardamom, Black Peppercorns, Cloves & Anise), and it turned out great.

For this year's holiday season, I'm brewing another spiced ale, but this time it will be given to my closest friends.

I've brainstormed a beer that's originally inspired by another recipe in Radical Brewing...gotta love that book! I noticed it had lots of brown malt, which should give it some roasty/nutty flavors, but I don't have any more. Instead I've given my brew more of a Nut-Amber bent with some Special Roast. I'm really curious how the big percentage of oats and wheat will influence the taste, clarity and mouthfeel.

As for spices, I thought "earthy" spices might go well with some toasted maltiness. I also wanted to have some "heat" coming from them as well. Some of these spices will be boiled, and some steeped in dark rum & vodka for 2 weeks before bottling.

Grains of Paradise is simply amazing. An intense perfume-like black pepper taste. I really can't use enough.
Cassia Buds are the dried flower buds from the cinnamon plant. After visiting the Spice House, and smelling & tasting these clove-like spices, it should be perfect. They have a taste that is reminiscent of Big Red chewing gum...more resiny/hot than cinnamon sticks.
Cinnamon sticks earlier in the boil should help round out the cinnamon flavor.
Dried Orange Peel might be nice, and it could play around with the Cascade & Simcoe hops.
Coriander may add a super subtle complexity.
Mexican Vanilla Beans have a smooth scent and flavor. I preferred it over the Madagascar (woody) and Tahitian (perfume) beans.

Again, I really loved the hopping in my Rhino Rye beer. With Cascade and Simcoe, I'll play around with a similar schedule. Since it won't be dry hopped, it will get a bigger knock-out addition.

Holiday Spiced Ale 2

8.0 lbs. Belgian Pils
3.0 lbs. Belgian Wheat
2.5 lbs. Flaked Oats
1.0 lbs. Munich Dark
1.0 lbs. Crystal 60L
.65 lbs. Special Roast
.25 lbs. Chocolate Malt
.10 lbs. Black Malt

1.0 oz. Cluster, 7.9%, pellet, 60min
.50 oz. Cascade, 6.3%, pellet, 60min
.35 oz. Simcoe, 11.9%, pellet, 25min
.65 oz. Cascade, 6.3%, pellet, 25min
.65 oz. Simcoe, 11.9%, pellet, KO
.55 oz. Cascade, 6.3%, pellet, KO

Boiled Spices
2.0 Cinnamon Sticks, cracked, 30min
.40 oz. Dried Orange Peel, 20min
1.5 tsp Coriander, cracked, 15min
.50 tsp Cassia Buds, cracked, 15min
1.0 tsp Grains of Paradise, cracked, 7min

Spice Potions
details coming soon

3 oz. 2 Mexican Vanilla Beans in Rum
2 oz. Cassia Buds in Vodka
.5 oz. Grains of Paradise in Vodka
3 oz. extra rum

Wyeast 1056: American Ale

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 8/28/08
Racked: just primary
Bottled: 8/7/08

Water Adjustment:
Strike - .5 tsp CaCl, .5 tsp Gypsum, .75 tsp Acid Blend
2nd Sparge - .75 tsp CaCl, .75 tsp Gypsum
Boil - .25 tsp Kosher Salt

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.15 qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5.4
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 153°F/60min
Mash Out Temp/Time: 169°F/15min
1st Batch Vol/SG: 4.75gal/1.075

2nd Batch Sparge Vol/H2OTemp/MashTemp: 2.5/180°F/168°F
2nd Batch SG: 1.037

Pre-Boil Vol/SG: 7.25/1.057
Boil Time: 90min
Post-Boil Vol: 6 gallons
Mash Efficiency: 73.6%

OG: 1.071
IBU: 49
Color/SRM: Amber-Brown/17
Ferment Temp: 73°F

FG: 1.016
ABW: 5.8%
ABV: 7.2%


Anonymous said...

Hey Ted, love the blog. Frequent it often as I love seeing what your experimenting with this week. I have a question about your strike water though. How do you come up with your mineral additions to your water? Do you have some sort of chart you use depending upon the beer you're brewing? Or do you base it off of your tap water?


Ted Danyluk said...

Thanks for visiting my site, and I'm glad you like it.

I usually add enough Gypsum &/or CaCl to the strike and 2nd-Sparge water infusions to raise the Calcium level from 34 to the 90's. And I usually split the total salt addition into the strike and 2nd Sparge waters, while omitting the mash out water...just for simplicity.

I guess I've found my beers tasting quite good at this level. And Chicago water definitely needs a lot of help in the areas of sulfates & chlorides. I use a spreadsheet to figure out how much to add, especially when trying to mimic geographic water sources. I've copied and pasted the city/water & salts charts from Palmer's site, and then fool around with them in Excel. I live in Chicago, so it has been fairly easy to know what the hardness is (actually fairly soft).

Look to see if you have soft or hard water. Copy and paste these charts. Then start raising the level of Gypsum/CaCl (and concurrently Sulfate & Chloride levels), and other salts to get to a level where your beers start to taste better or more defined with certain flavors. That's about it.

I'm always shocked at how much Gypsum should be added to get near the level of Burton hardness. Hope this helps some.

Anonymous said...

Yeah that actually helps a lot. I'm up in Palatine so I'm sure I could get a water profile from them if I just asked. I'll start with Palmers site and find my way from there.